Stairway To Heaven? 999 Steps To The Fortress Of Palamidi In Nafplion, Greece

Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (21)
Getting ready to climb the 999 steps with my son Alex to the Fortress of Palamidi, while Crystal Serenity was anchored in Nafplion, Greece. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle

They say a rose by any other name is still a rose. I wonder if the same is true of the port where Crystal Serenity docked yesterday? I don’t think I can explain what I am talking about better, or in a more confusing way, that Wikipedia does it: The city was named Nauplia in ancient Greek and Latin. In Byzantine Greek, several variants were used, including Naúplion, Anáplion, and Anáplia. In modern Greek, the town is now called Nafplio, although English continues to employ Nafplion, Navplion, and Nauplia as well. Crystal’s Reflections, a publication that is distributed each evening to staterooms, tells us that we were in Navplion, but the city refers to itself as Nafplion in documents printed in English, and in Greek, well, I’m looking now, and it certainly is Greek to me.

Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (20)
Already breathing hard and still a long way to go. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle

Our goal in Nevermindplion was to walk the grounds of the Fortress of Palamidi. There are two ways to get there: 1) by taxi, five kilometers from town and who knows how many euros; or 2) by ascending steps numbering 999 or perhaps 857 (the number is in dispute and not as easy to count as you would think). It’s not a nice joke to make perhaps, but is there any wonder that Greece is in crisis?

Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (19)
We’ve covered 312, with 600 to go. That makes 912 total, right? And that’s neither 857 or 999. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle

The fortress sits 220 meters above the sea on the summit of Palamidi. Yes, we got some gorgeous views of the city below and Crystal Serenity anchored in the distance on a day that saw temperatures exceed 100F.

Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (18)
On the way up, we had great views of Crystal Serenity anchored in off shore. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle

We weren’t alone in trekking to the top. We passed probably two dozen others during the 20 minutes in took us to ascend all of the steps. Luckily, we brought along and consumed two large bottles of water.  The sun was searing.

Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (1)
Oh, to be young again! Alex makes a cakewalk of the arduous ascent. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle

The fortress was built between 1711 and 1715, so technically it’s older than America, at least an independent America, but then everything over here is older than our young nation.

Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (17)
Getting there. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (16)
Why did we leave our air-conditioned floating luxury hotel? 2012 © Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (15)
Wound with a view. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (14)
Only 200 steps remaining – oh, plus nearly 1,000 more on the descent. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (13)
The big question: Will we make it back in time for lunch? 2012 © Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (12)
These numbers look good to me. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (11)
At last, the entrance to the Fortress of Palamidi. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (10)
Yep, confirmed, we are almost there. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (9)
After paying 4 euros entry (Alex entered at no charge) we were rewarded with more beautiful views of the ship. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (8)
On top of the world. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (6)
Don’t worry mom. It only looks dangerous. There were steps on the other side of the threshold. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (2)
Father and son achieve victory and head back down to the town of many names. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (5)
Recommended only for the intrepid. The stairs had no railings or walls in places. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (4)
The final steps to get back to where we began. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle (3)
Tired and tuckered on the tender back to Crsytal Serenity.. 2012 © Ralph Grizzle

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *